Bioenergetic analysis of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells

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SummaryLeucocytes respond rapidly to pathogenic and other insults, with responses ranging from cytokine production to migration and phagocytosis. These are bioenergetically expensive, and increased glycolytic flux provides adenosine triphosphate (ATP) rapidly to support these essential functions. However, much of this work is from animal studies. To understand more clearly the relative role of glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation in human leucocytes, especially their utility in a translational research setting, we undertook a study of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (MNCs) bioenergetics. Glycolysis was essential during lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-mediated interleukin (IL)−1β, IL-6 and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α production, as 2-deoxy-D-glucose decreased significantly the output of all three cytokines. After optimizing cell numbers and the concentrations of all activators and inhibitors, oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis profiles of fresh and cryopreserved/resuscitated MNCs were determined to explore the utility of MNCs for determining the bioenergetics health profile in multiple clinical settings. While the LPS-induced cytokine response did not differ significantly between fresh and resuscitated cells from the same donors, cryopreservation/resuscitation significantly affected mainly some measures of oxidative phosphorylation, but also glycolysis. Bioenergetics analysis of human MNCs provides a quick, effective means to measure the bioenergetics health index of many individuals, but cryopreserved cells are not suitable for such an analysis. The translational utility of this approach was tested by comparing MNCs of pregnant and non-pregnant women to reveal increased bioenergetics health index with pregnancy but significantly reduced basal glycolysis and glycolytic capacity. More detailed analysis of discrete leucocyte populations would be required to understand the relative roles of glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation during inflammation and other immune responses.

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